- Posted by Noni Cavaliere
- On February 13, 2018
The digital landscape has been a ramping up with almost monthly changes in how we market online since at least the late 1990s. Innovation is at an all-time high which means as business owners, advertisers and marketers have to stay ahead of the curve and on top of trends.
This year, in particular, sees some pretty significant shifts in digital marketing trends that we’re going to walk you through.
#1 Micro Influencer Marketing is a Go: Celeb and big-name influencers with millions of followers, who can also cost millions of dollars are a thing of the past. Through trial and lots of error, new FCC regulations and more, big brands are learning what some of us in hyper-local marketing have already known: it’s friends and family plus communication driven micro-influencers that drive real brand attention and word of mouth brand awareness. People look within their home-grown community to find product and service solutions. Buyers go to their favorite micro-influencer on Instagram and YouTube and other platforms to seek advice for purchases. They ask their neighbor, family and friends NOT the three million follower pop artist or celebrity of the moment.
#2 The Customer Journey is Paramount: The customer journey is filled with small moments in time that represents interactions with your brand over a multitude of different channels and technologies. It matters if the customer is using a mobile phone, tablet, lives within a zip code, and is within a specific age. It’s time for brands to anchor yourself in how customers think about the journey with your brand. Strive to use data to know where your consumers will be on every step of their purchasing path, learn what appeals to them, and design your marketing to touch them all along their journey. Your customer will remember how their time with your brand made them feel, and good feelings are where the purchase money flows.
#3 User Experience is King: To add to the customer journey mentioned above, the user experience is everything when it comes to capturing leads or closing sales. The design of your website, app and other digital touchpoints needs to be user-centered. User experience is everything. If you’re not doing it right online, it’s a good bet your competition is.
#4 Create Micro-Moments that Matter: Mobile is a major influence on customer interaction and engagement with brands. From long-term goals such as planning to purchase a home, or something as small as acquiring a quick grocery from the nearest store or even locating the ingredients of a dish from your phone, etc., countless of these micro-moments drives customers with the impulse to reach out for their mobile phone. Providing the right information at the right time to the customer in need is paramount. Useful, quick and one-touch access to the needed information is the foundation of acquiring customer trust and building long-lasting relationships.
#5 More Brands Are Taking a Stand: Consumers are tired of traditional interruptive marketing being pushed out by brands, they want brands to deliver not only relevant offerings but also to take a stand on today’s pressing societal issues. Consumers are aligning their purchase power with brands that stand for something outside of sales and products. People care about what you sell but what you as a brand stands for.
#6 Target Ads with Specific Purpose: Attention is in short supply, especially online. To capture the audience, you are going after; it’s not a “one size fits all ad campaign design.” Ads need to move to singularly purposed, with a definite goal and goal conversion place in mind, whether it be a mobile or desktop experience.
#7 Native Advertising: To grab exposure in front of the right audience, native advertising has become one of the most sought-after marketing methods. Native ads facilitate the brands to market in a quite non-disruptive way. Native ads blend in such a seamless manner, that customers may not even spot them when viewing. Native ads can be an advertorial, instant content, search advertising, recommended content or sponsored listings form of native advertising.
#8 Think “Smart Content”: When developing a content plan for your websites, it’s time to steer away from traditional static content and more to more dynamically-rich content. By tapping into the customer journey, you can create a unique experience for the customer that matches their specific needs. This means tapping into smart content promotes the perception of different buyer personas. Not all your customers are the same, it’s time to figure out who your customer types are and create content that is personalized to them. It’s the most powerful way to reach potential customers and retain current ones.
#9 Conversational Interfaces: With the rise of Siri, Alexa, Cortona, chatbots, and the Google Assistant, customers are turning their buyer journey into a conversational one. Voice actions to activate sales is how the market is going, and it’s only rising. Conversation based sales touch points are a part of customers daily routines now. Remember conversation is the original user experience. Conversational interfaces allow customers to natural interact with brands. It’s time to optimized content for voice search.
#10 Video Marketing: Video has been on the rise for a bit but even now more than in the past, a video is the key to reaching people in their busy lives. Well produced and focused radio content will boost search rankings, increase engagement and drive traffic to your website.
#11 Professional Live Video: Video is a rising trend as more and social networks, and platform integrates video into the daily stream, and video has become optimized for mobile. Live video is a regular part of people’s online lives but to stand out, it’s time to invest in professional development of producing a live video. Live video is a great way to connect with your audience, and the shaky, holding-a-phone-in-your-hand live video won’t be acceptable anymore.
Bonus tip: For the most life of you video efforts: Live video will need to be recorded and then promoted after the live feed. Don’t skip this step!
#12 Instagram is Key: In 2017, Instagram announced that approximately 800 million people use the platform each month. Their latest tool, Instagram Stories, became more popular than Snapchat just one year after going live. Since brands tend to see better engagement on Instagram than any other social media platform, and because of great advertising controls, Instagram is poised to become the go-to channel for brands interested in social media marketing.
#13 LinkedIn Gets New Life with B2B: LinkedIn made several user experience updates in 2017. A site-wide revamp has refreshed how people are using the platform as well as how much time they are using it. Linkedin also made good improvements to the LinkedIn ad platform.
#14 Digital Connects with Offline Experience: Brands have grasped the importance of social media customer services and the need to have a flawless digital customer experiences. Now it is essential that online and offline customer experiences match. Consumers have come to expect (and even demand) the same experience with brands no matter where the interactions happen.
#15 Digital Goes Live with Events: As brands become clear on digital marketing efforts, more brands are investing in live events again. Live events focus on bringing the consumer and press from behind the screen to in-person for experience marketing efforts.
While the above points are all predictions, remember to stay on top of the marketing landscape as technology changes rapidly and the expectations of customers change. Marketing is changing from “make it happen and see what sticks” to a deep dive into analytics with a personalized touch and care about the customer as an individual. Marketing overall is more focused on digital marketing through organic search, voice and social media. It’s time to jump on board; we don’t want to see you left in the dust.
If you have any questions about the different marketing touch points, mention above or just don’t know where exactly to start, reach out to V Digital Services for a consultation.